The University of Kansas, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Metropolitan Community College will host a bistate summit to address barriers that lead to low college access, completion rates and degree attainment on Tuesday, Nov. 8, at UMKC’s student union.
The Kansas-Missouri Summit on Access, Attainment & Completion will provide faculty and senior-level staff from colleges and universities across the bistate region a forum for sharing strategies and best practices for recruiting and retaining students from underrepresented populations. KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little will deliver the keynote address.
The summit will include invited guests Congressmen Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-Mo.) and Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.), who were in Kansas City late last month for a forum sponsored by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, where they discussed education and government spending, among other topics. The pair, which represents both sides of the aisle and both sides of the state line, agreed that higher education completion and access deserve lawmakers and educators’ attention and called on local institutions to work together to address the issue. The Kansas-Missouri Summit on Access, Attainment & Completion is the result of that call to action, which is also tied to President Barack Obama’s nationwide college completion agenda.
In addition to Chancellor Gray-Little and Congressmen Cleaver and Yoder, guest speakers include top-level administrators from UMKC, MCC, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Central Missouri, Johnson County Community College, Haskell Indian Nations University and Kansas State University.
The summit is part of broad access and attainment goals set by each of the three host institutions. Other initiatives include:
• The University of Kansas is working to increase completion rates and college access by broadening its financial support for students. KU now offers a package of new, four-year renewable scholarships for freshmen and two-year scholarships for transfer students. Starting with the fall 2012 incoming class, KU will automatically award students renewable scholarships according to their academic performance. Prospective students will now know what scholarships they qualify for even before they apply, and KU will confirm the awards within two weeks of the student’s admission to the university. The university has also created the KU Pell Advantage program, which will be available to new fall 2012 Kansas freshmen who receive Federal Pell Grants and meet academic requirements. Visit www.affordability.ku.edu for details.
• The University of Missouri-Kansas City is participating in the national Access 2 Success initiative, which has as its goal to improve the access and success of underrepresented minority students and low-income students to higher education. UMKC’s broader goal is to focus on the undergraduate student experience and place student success at the center to increase retention and degree attainment.
• Metropolitan Community College is currently developing an Enhanced Strategic Enrollment Plan that will provide long-term growth and serve the educational needs of our community. This aggressive plan will lead us in leveraging our current resources and initiatives to increase the overall enrollment of students, expand our course delivery to areas not currently served and carry out our mission with increased degree and certificate completion, and transfers to four-year institutions.